Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Curry Effect

Before I jump into serious topics, if you didn't watch PTI yesterday, this is worth a watch. If I hadn't already been Punk'd by the kids a few times I might have actually bitten:

As you've likely already heard, Duke's 3 point machine, Taylor King is transferring from Duke. The thing of course that jumps to most people's mind is that he can't play good enough defense to get the playing time he wants, and feels like maybe he won't. Everyone has and will be talking about what is wrong at Duke given the high volume of transfers and early departures of late. At a minimum you have to believe the Duke staff needs to do a better job evaluating who will fit happily into their system. People are predicting the end of the era of Duke greatness. That is ridiculous, but it is equally dumb to think all is well.

But, this got me thinking a bit about Stephen Curry. If I'm Taylor King, sitting in my dorm room at Duke watching the NCAA tournament, and see this skinny little kid at Davidson becoming the nation's favorite basketball player, I can't help but think:

"Damn, I can shoot like that, and it sure doesn't look like Curry is having to work nearly as hard on defense as I have to every day. If I had gone to a school like Davidson, I'd probably be leading the nation in 3 point shots this year".

Maybe he was gone from Duke already, but you can't help but imagine this type of thing could have an effect.

Yesterday they announce the finalists for the John R. Wooden Award given to the nations best player. The expected names are there:

  • Augustin
  • Beasley
  • Hansbrough
  • Love
The surprise, the inclusion of a skinny kid playing in the Southern Conference, Stephen Curry.

Only time will tell if I'm right on this, but over the next few years, I predict that major conference coaches are going to be fighting "The Curry Effect". Major schools regularly over-recruit. Some schools bring in far too many top 200 kids to actually play. We've seen some schools have McDonald's All-Americans who end up riding the bench. With this shining example of Stephen Curry, I think many more very capable kids are going to think about an alternative path to their careers.

Sure, the one-and-done type kids who know they have NBA talent and are planning on declaring at the first legal moment are still going where the exposure is. But, there are many, many more players with NBA dreams who know it will take them 3 or 4 years and a lot of development before they are going to get a chance to be an NBA player. Stephen Curry is going to play in the NBA. BUT, if he had somehow ended up sitting the bench at Duke for a couple of years instead of getting major playing time, would he have developed the same way? I think you can make a compelling argument that someone like Curry ended up in the perfect situation to satisfy every possible goal a young ball player could want:
  • Win
  • Get exposure
  • Be the Big Man on campus
  • Develop into an NBA Player
So, for some percentage of kids who typically end up at major conference schools, who have decent careers, maybe end up playing a few years overseas before giving up hoops for a realistic career, a different college choice, to a small school with a very good coach could be the difference between NBA or not.

Whether that argument is accurate or not, you can damn well expect every small and mid-major coach on the recruiting trail to make the argument, and I think it will be persuasive in many more cases than in the past. If you think we have parity in College Basketball now, just wait until "The Curry Effect" takes hold.


Anonymous said...

DG mentioned on his show today that K has over-recruited since he started getting burned by early departures to the NBA. There was a time when he would only have 9-10 scholarship players and go with a 7-8 player rotation. Now if you only have 9 scholarship players and you lose 1, you're in trouble. Of course now the problem is the McDonalds All-Americans who aren't happy with sitting the bench during thier freshman year.

Ken White said...

Shot DG an email yesterday with the link and he wrote back last night. Mentioned he thought the effect had been underway a bit before, but no question this could really magnify it.

Also thanked us for linking to his stuff in the past.